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ADK Pioneers

Meet our Ambassador Team

Manuel Palacios

Manuel (Manny) is a scientist and outdoor photographer based out of Upstate New York in the Mohawk River area. He spends most days and nights wandering around the beauty of the Adirondacks. For Manuel, landscape photography is not just a means to document moments, but a way to artistically interpret and feel landscapes. He loves pushing photography to its technical limits and enjoys teaching others how to get the most from their cameras.

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Shane Garlock

Shane is a recent Paul Smiths College graduate and photographer of nature, located currently in the Adirondack Park. For Shane, photography is a way to challenge his own artistic abilities by trying to express the beauty of nature that he experiences by being outside. He feels that photography is a never-ending process of learning and evolving that everyone can learn to enjoy.

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Valerie Manne

Valerie is a designer, woodworker, and adventurer. Growing up as a Tupper Lake native, The Adirondacks have been the place she calls home even when living 3,000 miles away. Although she doesn't live inside the park boundaries currently, she's constantly following up with what's going on and living vicariously through other social accounts. You can now find her exploring Montana's forests and adding trail logs to her new website - aimed at improving online trail accessibility for Western Montana:

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Alyssa Devlin

Alyssa is a freelance writer and MFA candidate in Poetry who grew up hiking and skiing the ‘dacks and is now based in Washington, DC. She spends her days fighting the heat with daydreams of swimming in cool Adirondack lakes. You can find her at

Matt Strickland

Matt is a resident of the Adirondack Park. He's an avid hiker, skier, and paddler. Matt starts each morning petting his dog and two cats on the head and brewing a strong cup of black coffee. A graduate of SUNY Potsdam's Wilderness Education Program, Matt enjoys sharing his passion for the Adirondack Park with new visitors. Matt has spent time working as a guide for backpacking and canoe trips, employed at YMCA camps and is now a professional in the outdoor industry.

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Tyler Merriam

Tyler Merriam is an outdoor recreation enthusiast based out of Saranac Lake, NY. He is passionate about the field of outdoor recreation, and spends his work time as a paddlesport outfitter, ski and snowboard technician, outdoor guide, and college educator. In his free time he loves to explore every corner of the Adirondacks by foot, boat, bike, or ski, including locations little known to others. Tyler is excited to share his love for the Adirondacks with residents and visitors alike, and hopes that his trips inspire everyone to get outdoors and immerse themselves in the natural and cultural landscape of the Adirondacks.

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Geoff & Emily

Geoff, a software engineer, and Emily, a radiation therapist, spend their free time playing in the peaks & valleys of the park. The mountains are what brought them together, where they got married, and where they now reside. Whether it be reaching their next mountain conquest, paddling the streams & lakes that lay in between, cross country skiing new trails, mountain biking or exploring with their rescue dog, Janet, this is the place where they truly feel at home. They always enjoy finding the best local restaurants & pubs and seeing who has the best brew selection in the area.

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Kevin Lenhart

Kevin Lenhart is a Saranac Lake native, currently residing in Onchiota. Kevin works as a property care taker and maintains a historic camp in the Adirondacks. He has spent the majority of his life living in the Adirondack Park. Kevin is from a family of outdoor enthusiasts who raised him hiking, camping and paddling the Adirondacks. He is a self taught photographer of almost 10 years. Kevin has spent many years exploring the Adirondacks and is extremely knowledgeable on the backcountry, mountains and bodies of water in the High Peaks region.

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Patrick Bly

Pat is a senior at SUNY Plattsburgh where he studies Ecology. A native of the Adirondacks, he quickly became fascinated by his surroundings. The diversity and incredible landscapes there left him with a passion for understanding the natural world. He is an avid hiker, snowboarder, adventurer and photographer. Pat spends his summers working for the DEC where he teaches kids about the environment and conservation.

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Bryce Laduc

Bryce can usually be found hiking with her two rescue dogs around the Pacific Northwest. Having spent many year exploring the Adirondacks, the park instilled a sense of adventure in her that stays with her to this day. For PureADK, she still helps contribute to the website and social media by sharing her past experiences in the ADKs. She's also a great tour guide if you're ever looking to explore the PNW!

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Nick LaScala

A New Jersey native with deep roots in the Adirondack communities, Nick has visited, lived, worked, and most importantly, played in the Adirondack Park. He is a NYS certified whitewater rafting, hiking, and camping guide. He's also active in the Indian Lake community, acting as a member of the Revitalization Committee. At the moment, he's attending Clarkson University where he studies marketing and continues to spend a lot of his free time recreating in the Adirondacks.

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Northville-Placid Trail Experience
Northville-Placid Trail Experience

One moment that stands out is from the first day when I passed the Northville-Placid Trail trailhead sign and trail register, then first entered the wilderness. There was a gradient of modernity to nature I observed as I left the comforts of my car and walked from the paved streets of Northville, to gravel roads leading into the woods, eventually reaching the detritus covered forest floor. 

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Unconventional Ice Fishing
Unconventional Ice Fishing

Spring is probably most commonly thought of as the least enjoyable season in the Adirondacks. Between slushy muddy trails and the black flies starting to come out, most people don’t know what to do outside. If you like to give the mountain trails a rest during mud season, you realize the need to get creative with your outdoor activities.

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Winter 46 Journey | Jay Whitbourne
Winter 46 Journey | Jay Whitbourne

I have seen some of the most amazing cloud inversions during the winter and had some of the most surreal moments when the snow conditions are just right, the sky is clear, the wind is calm and the air isn't nipping at your skin. I can't say I have a favorite day precisely, but more of a series of great moments to remember.  

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